I don’t typically use cabbage in salads, or at least I didn’t until recently. I think this is mainly due to associating cabbage with coleslaw, which growing up was always shredded cabbage, carrot and capsicum (peppers) in a rich/sweet/heavy mayonnaise dressing that completely overwhelmed the delicate flavours of the vegetables .I was never a fan, and thankfully neither was my Mum, so luckily I never had to eat it too often. It wasn’t until a friend bought along Ottolegnhi’s Sweet Winter Slaw to a barbecue a few years ago that I started to see cabbage salads in a different light and I started to think that there may still be hope for cabbage salads in my culinary future.
Since then I have played around with quite a few different cabbage salads, and this would have to be the best one. Its perhaps a bit sad to get excited over a salad, but different flavours and textures of this salad blend together beautifully to create a simple yet delicious dish. The combination of thinly shredded Chinese cabbage and baby spinach makes a great base for the flavoursome tofu, and the freekeh and sunflower seeds add a wonderful texture, with the chewy bite of the freekeh combining beautifully with the crunch of the sunflower seeds. The salad is finished off with a tahini dressing that’s packed full of flavour, but still remains understated (no overwhelming mayo here!)
Not only is this salad delicious but its also adaptable for the seasons – for those of you in cooler climates, you can add the freekeh in whilst its start warm and pan fry the tofu until golden, creating a lovely warm winter salad.
Shredded cabbage salad with freekeh and smoked tofu
Note: The salad can be served cool as described below, or fry the marinated tofu until golden and it in warm, along with the freekeh for a warm winter salad
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
200g smoked tofu, diced
3 Tbsp tahini
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp brown sugar
Juice of half a lemon
1 sping onion (white part only), finely minced
2 Tbsp water
1/2 head Chinese cabbage, shredded
1 big handful baby spinach, shredded
1 cup cooked freekeh
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
3 spring onions (green parts only)
To make the marinated tofu, combine the soy and sesame oil add then add to diced tofu. Leave to marinate at least 20 minutes.
Make the salad dressing by combining all of the ingredients and stirring to combine. Add more water if a thinner consistency is desired.
Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl and then stir through the dressing.
Serves 3-4 as a main, or up to 6 as a side dish